MSI 790FX-GD70 AM3 Motherboard Review

by lemonlime     |     July 26, 2009

MSI 790FX-GD70 AM3 Motherboard Review

Manufacturer's Part Number: 790FX-GD70
Price: Approximately $200 CDN or Click here to compare prices.
Manufacturer's Product Page: MSI 790FX-GD70 Product Page.
Warranty: 3 years limited warranty

Wow, another AMD motherboard review at Hardware Canucks? You bet. With the great performance-to-dollar ratio that AMD’s new Phenom II has brought to the table, there has been a huge resurgence of interest in AMD products. Even the enthusiast crowd has taken a second look at AMD’s Phenom II thanks to its great overclocking headroom and AMD’s tweaker-friendly “Black Edition” processors.

Today we’re going to be taking a look at one of MSI’s higher-end socket AM3 motherboards; the 790FX-GD70. Unlike many of the mainstream 790GX platform offerings, the GD70 employ’s AMD’s top-end, enthusiast offering; the 790FX/SB750 chipset combo. Although the 790FX is a discrete graphics solution and doesn’t include AMD’s very capable HD 3300 integrated graphics processor, it gets quite an army of PCI-Express lanes in exchange. MSI has certainly taken advantage of these available lanes and implemented – yes you heard it right – four PCI-E slots for Quad-Crossfire-X support. Although Quad-Crossfire is a pretty ludicrous proposition even for hardcore gamers, we’ve most certainly got the attention of our Folding@Home community, haven’t we?

When it comes to features, the GD70 is a “well equipped” board. Aside from the four full-length PCI-E slots, it also features eight SATA ports, dual-gigabit LAN ports, E-SATA, Firewire and an elaborate passive cooling solution. The GD70 also has some very “green” features under its belt, like the “Active Phase Switching” feature that allows its voltage regulation phases to be cut down when not required to conserve electricity.

Targeted toward the AMD enthusiast community, MSI has included a very flexible BIOS with the GD70, very numerous and generous voltage adjustments, onboard switches, labelled voltage read-points and even a dial for increasing reference clocks on the fly. To put it plainly, the GD70 looks like one impressive AM3 board on paper.

Let’s see if it lives up to its paper hype in the HWC labs!

Editor's Note: All Canadian RMAs of MSI boards are processed through MSI's facility in Ontario. This should mean quick turn-around time and no worries about customs charges.


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